Situated within 32 acres of natural woodland, open meadows and ornamental lakes, Audley Stanbridge Earls is just minutes from the beautiful market town of Romsey in the Test Valley area of Hampshire.
Formerly a private home, rumoured to have been once occupied by Saxon royalty, the site was held by a number of families until, by the early 19th century, it was in a ruinous state. It was rescued in the early 20th century when it was restored and developed until 1952, when it became a boarding school.
Romsey is just 11 miles from the coast at the bustling port of Southampton, which has an abundance of attractions and shopping opportunities. SeaCity Museum has an interactive model of the Titanic, which left from Southampton in 1912. Southampton City Art Gallery specialises in modern British art and Solent Sky Museum features vintage aircraft like the iconic Spitfire. Tudor House & Garden displays artefacts covering over 800 years of history, including a penny-farthing bike. West Quay shopping centre boasts a huge variety of shops, restaurants and bars, as well as a cinema and bowling alley. Nearby Netley has a 'pick your own' farm, which is a great day out.
National Trust Mottisfont is a beautiful house and gardens with over 800 years of history to unravel during your visit. The last owner was a fascinating society hostess and arts patron named Maud Russell, whose taste is reflected in the current decor. The house was founded as an Augustinian priory in 1201 and its estate extends out over 1600 acres of woodland and tenanted farmland. There is plenty to explore on a day out at Mottisfont including the rose garden, outdoor theatre, scenic walks and tours of the house itself.
The existence of the Abbey Church of St Mary and St Ethelflaeda can be traced all the way back to 907 AD, the year in which King Edward the Elder, son of the Saxon King Alfred the Great, first settled some nuns here under the charge of his daughter Elflaeda.
In 2019, it's the largest parish church in Hampshire and is well worth a visit. It has an impressive collection of corbels (or gargoyles as most people would call them) and weekly tours are carried out by the stewards.